Posted by: Xhyra Graf | 21 February 2007

Ghost Rider


Detail from “Allegory of the Cave” Plaster and Fiberglass Sculpture.  I wanted a photo that kind of looked like flames. This artwork has nothing to do with the movie….then again, maybe it does. What we know affects our perception of our experiences with the world around us and therefore our ‘truth’ and how we experience the world to gain new knowledge in a never ending circle.

Quote of the day: “I will own this curse.”  Johnny Blaze

Sigh…I come to the conclusion that I need to own my curse.  Anyway, that’s another story.  I went to see Ghost Rider with my sister.  The quote was pulled by her as relevant to our shared history and capabilities.  [See Bricolage post re: MotherDear’s Beads].  I had a conversation about the movie with a friend of mine today, which he frequently punctuated with “crap” and “sucked” because to him the only redeeming thing about the movie was that you got to look at Eva Mendes. Of course.  Sigh.  [I will be doing that frequently in this post.]  

First of all, “Sucked” is still, in my head, attached to The New World, so Ghost Rider didn’t suck.  In fact, I enjoyed…well…most of it. But there was an underlying problem with Ghost Rider and again I always find the major flaw to be something usually having to do with the director or direction.  Especially today, you can sell anything as plausible in a movie.  If you are unable to do that then you are unable to do your job as a professional movie maker.  You label yourself as an amateur.  Plain, simple. 

This is what it takes to sell whatever your vision is to me or Joe public.  Entertain us.  When we go to the movie theatre we expect to be transported to a ‘place’ for an ‘experience’ and kept there from the beginning to the end of the movie without interruption.  Simple.  Ghost Rider did not pull me into the movie and keep me there until the movie ended.  The problem with Ghost Rider is that I did not buy it…and I’m not that hard of a sale.

[S P O I L E R  A L E R T]

Take Transporter 2 for instance: [BTW, loooove Jason Statham and Crank was awesome.]  Sure, it was full of stuff that could never happen in real life… that he could drive his car over a ramp, have it flip in the perfect synchronous arc to have the bomb pulled off by a hanging hook he noticed as he was driving in [I saw him notice it], before he even saw that there was a bomb attached to the bottom of his car, to then land right side up and drive away. Of course that would, could never happen in real life.  But as it was happening in the movie theatre, as I sat in my seat for the however many few seconds that it took that scene to unfold… I believed it.  That is what it takes to sell an audience. Furthermore, I still admire that scene. In my head I can see the round table; “We’ll never be able to pull it off.” “Yes, we can.” “No, they’ll never buy it” “Yes, they will” “Maybe…” “We will.”  Synchronicity-in a collection of minds working toward a single goal, however hoaky, radical and superfluous the end product of that goal is…is a thing I admire.  It took SKILL to pull that scene together and make it work; from concept all the way through the timing sense of editing for the final cut.  Yeah, Ghost Rider didn’t have that.  There were several times that I was pulled out of movie watching to think, um..hey, wait a minute. 

[S P O I L E R  A L E R T]

OK…so it had Sam Elliot playing another role that only Sam Elliot plays the best.  Sam Elliot with midnight o’clock shadow.  Sam has the best hair.  Gotta love Sam… oh, sorry.  But tell me why would the old Ghost Rider save his last ride just so he could get to the edge of the town and hand the new Ghost Rider his gun.  Makes no sense, he could have just given him the gun back at the cemetary and saved his last ride for another movie. Sigh.

Also, how is that getting stabbed as Ghost Rider meant that Johnny Blaze needed to get stitched up the next morning, but getting riddled with bullets had no effect whatsoever?

I even had the time to think about the fact that just supposing my team initials were S.W.A.T. there would still be no way I would find in the S.W.A.T. manual or under my job description: Response procedure for a leather clad skeleton with a flaming head that is capable of riding his flaming chopper down the side of a skyscraper.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with thinking about these things, but to be able to think about them while you’re watching the movie is unforgivable.  Besides how come if his chopper leaves melted asphalt behind and his flaming bony hand leaves an imprint on the grill of a truck, why then is it that his leathers are still intact?  I was wondering this the very first time he phased into the Ghost Rider.  Shouldn’t be wondering that.  It was just emphasized by the later things.  Sigh.  I mean, at least The Hulk’s clothes shredded.  However during the movie, I didn’t have the time or the inclination to wonder about what was left of Hulk’s pants.  I also assumed he looked like he was flying because they were really, really big jumps.  [Watch for The Incredible Hulk in 2008].

Did I say I enjoyed the movie?  I did. Nicolas Cage Rocks! Besides, like I said, there was Sam Elliot.  So I enjoyed the movie for some of the same reasons my friend thought that Eva Mendes was the only redeeming thing in the movie.  My friend also knew much more about Ghost rider than I did. “They didn’t even show that he was such a good rider he was able to ride out of hell!!  Suuuccked!” Although I’m somewhat of a comics person I knew much more about The Punisher than about the Ghost Rider, which was waaay less than say, The Hulk or Fantastic Four. Because I didn’t have story line glitches or omissions to color my enjoyment, I was less disappointed.  Still, it’s about the sell.  The Fantastic Four movie was able to draw me in and keep me interested even though Dr. Doom never went up with them in the comics.  [Watch for Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer.]

Ghost Rider lost me a couple of times. That’s not a good sign for any movie, but especially in this genre I’m not that difficult to please. I liked Barb Wire!!  [Really, they were able to keep the comic book look and feel about it – not difficult with Pamela Anderson who’s shaped like a comic book heroine.  It’s true.  You can’t tell me it’s not.  All women in comic books are shaped like Pamela Anderson.] 

Anyway, there really were some excellent visuals in Ghost Rider and all in all it was a night of entertainment.  That’s all I needed.

Another Movie Quote: “There’s a difference between revenge and…Punishment.” The Punisher*.

*The Punisher movie with Thomas Jane, who I really liked in The Velocity of Gary but tend to confuse with Samuel Le Bihan from Le Pacte du Loup.



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